Lithuania faces shake-ups: watching G. Nausėda raises questions about the future of G. Landsbergis

The ministers led by Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonytė are still in their posts, but President Gitanas Nausėda has already warned in advance: some of them will have to pack their bags anyway. How will the ruling party react to this?

​The ministers led by Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonytė are still in their posts, but President Gitanas Nausėda has already warned in advance: some of them will have to pack their bags anyway. How will the ruling party react to this?<br> montažas.
​The ministers led by Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonytė are still in their posts, but President Gitanas Nausėda has already warned in advance: some of them will have to pack their bags anyway. How will the ruling party react to this?<br> montažas.
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2023-06-06 08:11

The ministers led by Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonytė are still in their posts, but President Gitanas Nausėda has already warned in advance: some of them will have to pack their bags anyway. How will the ruling party react to this?

One of the most realistic scenarios that have been discussed recently to get out of the political crisis is to try to form the so-called old new government and put Šimonyte back in charge.

But will Šimonytė, who promised to step down as Prime Minister in mid-July, change her mind, especially after hearing about the plans of the Head of State, G. Nausėda, to shake the future cabinet of ministers from the shoulder?

The President hinted at this on LNK television. Nausėda said that he would not allow the two ministers involved in the cheque scandal to cross the threshold of the future government.

According to sources, the new government may also try to leave behind Gabrielius Landsbergis, who heads the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and is the architect of today's political turmoil.

Arvydas Anušauskas, Minister of National Defence, may also have to step down. It is hinted that the constant bickering between these conservatives, which is damaging to the prestige of the state, will no longer be tolerated.

However, it remains to be seen what the outcome of next week's vote on the dissolution of the Seimas will be.

However, neither the President nor the conservative leaders who are trying to shake up the country's political system seem to believe in this possibility.

They promise to sift the candidates

This week, Nausėda made it clear that if the ruling party chooses the least painful scenario of the crisis and persuades the prime minister to wade into the same river again, the pain could be no less.

The Head of State has stated in advance that, in this case, he sees no place for at least the two ministers of finance and culture mentioned in the cheque scandal, Gintarė Skaistė and Simonas Kairys, in the new government.

According to Nausėda, neither the current Finance Minister nor the Minister of Culture would be approved: „It cannot be that what is already being tried to be spread somewhere between the lines – that it could be that nothing will change, that we will come back to the new old government after this whole circle has turned around“.

However, the President considered that if the ruling coalition decides to propose Šimonytė for the premiership again, she will have the right to do so: „However, when the Prime Minister resigns, all the other ministers also resign. The cabinet will therefore have to be formed anew.

And just as I have done so responsibly in the formation of this Government, I will do so again now.“

Sending a serious signal

Will Šimonytė agree to form a new cabinet when she hears about Nausėda's ambitions?

„By saying this, the President is curbing the Prime Minister's appetite,“ Eugenijus Gentvilas said.

The leader of the Liberals' group in the Seimas believes that the PM should hear the signal that the President „is now hanging on and has more reason to do so than before“.

According to the politician, Nausėda is making it clear that he will interfere in the formation of a possible new government even more than in 2020.

It is true that even then, the head of state was already resented by the ruling party for delaying decisions, and the harassment of ministers at the Presidential Palace had turned into an interrogation.

„Some may have felt that Nausėda's interference was too strong, others too weak. But the fact is that the Head of State did not analyse the cheques then,“ Gentvilas said wryly.

The liberal admitted that Nausėda was sending a signal to the ruling party and to Šimonyte about what awaits them, but he did not analyse whether the head of state was doing this deliberately.

„I don't know whether Šimonytė will run for a second time or not. But if she plans to, she should hear the statement – there will be problems“, Gentvilas said.

It's too early to predict

However, one of the leaders of the Liberal Movement thinks that Nausėda has started to speak publicly too early about what should not be in the future government.

According to the politician, it is too early to make a sixth or seventh step when the first step has not yet been made, and it is unclear what the situation will be in the Conservative camp: „I think it is not right to make schemes for the fourth quarter after the first quarter has started. I won't do that.“

Gentvilas urged to wait for the end of the first period, which he said could further highlight the divisions on the right: „Let's wait and see whether the conservatives will grow, split, or remain united, despite their different approaches to the snap parliamentary elections“.

The Liberal recalled the political battles that took place in 2001 when Rolandas Paksas resigned from the premiership.

At that time, some of his former comrades objected to the permanent retention of Gentvilas, who had been temporarily holding the post.

„The tension among the liberals at that time was such that twelve of Paksas's people then said that they would support Algirdas Brazauskas and not Gentvilas. And A.Brazauskas became Prime Minister, as the minority of our group wanted. And the whole group ended up in opposition.

So today, I would not dare to predict what will happen to the Conservatives if early elections do not take place. Some of them are not in favour of it. So anything can still happen there.

I am not saying that their group could formally split, but there could be a spiritual split. Some of its members may simply say that they do not support Mrs Šimonytė, who, together with Mr Landsbergis, was the initiator and architect of these early elections.

Therefore, in terms of future scenarios, it must be appreciated that not all fifty conservatives will necessarily once again raise their hands in support of Mrs Šimonytė as the new old Prime Minister.

But the question is, how many will there be – five, fifteen or more?“ – The MP told „Lietuvos rytas“.

Gentvilas was also reluctant to discuss whether he could imagine a future government without Landsbergis as Foreign Minister.

„He has no veto power in this case. Of course, Nausėda can try to do it, but it is not his prerogative.“

It will be harder to get along

Vytautas Mitalas, Vice-Chairman of the Seimas and the Freedom Party has not yet taken the time to answer how the warnings already coming from Nausėda's lips about the ministerial candidates might affect the future government's puzzles.

He believes that Šimonytė's decision will be influenced not only by Nausėda's demands but also by her fatigue from the conservatives' own virages.

„This is also important for foreign partners, who are now scratching their heads to find out what is going on here.“

Mitalas is convinced that the outcome of the current drama will depend primarily on how Landsbergis manages to control the „perturbations“ within the party he leads.

However, the representative of the Freedom Party stressed that even after all the cataclysms that have hit the country, the conservatives remain the most important political force, without which it is difficult to imagine a new majority.

„It is in my interest and in the interest of the party I represent to ensure that the coalition works.

There are things that need to be done, and all the turmoil that the Conservatives have created in the name of early elections and the party's higher ratings will not be to the benefit of the country.

On the other hand, there is too little room for retreat.

So much has already been said, and so many accusations have been levelled at them that I find it hard to see how the Conservatives will be able to find common ground internally, with their coalition partners or with other political forces. Especially if the idea of early elections is not approved by the Seimas, and I have a feeling that it will be.

Then, perhaps, the right will say that they are the only ones who are right, who are the bravest and who wanted more transparency, while the others are hiding something bad.

If they start to go deeper into this, I have no idea how the coalition partners will look at them, to be honest. Because they will clearly become a toxic party that cannot govern the country after such statements“, Mitalas said.

Does the „libertarian“ party still imagine that Landsbergis could keep his ministerial post after the political storms he has caused?

„We are entering a situation where someone will have to concede and admit that personal ambition is not above the search for consensus.

This rule must apply to the coalition's relations and to its relations with the President. This is where an open heart will be needed,“ Mitalas told Lietuvos rytas.

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